Part of the St. Dymphna Ministry, each week I will post an Advent reflection to help guide us through this season as caregivers, as those living with dementia, and as a community.

Week Three

As I get older, the memories of Christmas pasts, and how it has changed throughout the years grows stronger. Thoughts about what Christmas “should be” battle with thoughts of what it can become. There is hope, and rejoicing, the anticipation grows stronger than the sadness of what has been lost and the anxiety that remains as I remember God calls us into the light and to become the light.

John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

1 Peter 1:7 “Cast all your anxiety on God, because He cares for you.” 

This week we will experience the darkest day of the year. It is fitting that this third week of Advent opens with Gaudete Sunday, a time when we are called to rejoice. A rose-colored candle is light signifying to all of us that the light of Christ is within us. We should rejoice with that great internal light the beauty of this time and of the coming Christmas season. As caregivers anxiety can frequently be the greatest darkness that works to overcome each one of us. Moments happen when we fall to our anxiety and despair, but we must remember that God cares for us and that He is always with us. During this week may we find the light of Christ within each one of us, and in those we care for. May we experience the depth and width of this season as we recognize that even though this season of stillness is partnered with our societal season of stress and worry, God is our greatest collaborator. With Him we can discover what we need to become the light of others in times of loss, stress, and hopelessness. He cares for us as we accompany those who are dying, sick, or struggling. 

Heavenly Father, may this week of rejoicing and light remind us why we have walking this caregiving journey. May we see you and know that you are with us when the compounding stress tries to engulf us in great darkness. May our childlike anticipation for Christmas carry us through and may we learn to recognize you here, with us always. Amen

Published by Kathryne Fassbender

Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator. I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia.

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